Category Archives: LEO’s Eats

Cochinita pibil at Mayan Cafe takes us straight to Yucatán

Cochinita pibil. These two Spanish words – one common, the other not so much – shine a bright light on both the Mayan cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula and neighboring Guatemala and into one of Louisville’s favorite South-of-the-Border restaurants, Mayan Cafe.

So what’s a cochinita pibil? A little pig – that’s the easy part – long and slowly roasted in a tart, flavorful marinade of sour oranges and Mayan spices, housed in a large metal box and lowered into a pib, the traditional Mayan fire pit.

Mayan Cafe doesn’t have a giant fire-in-the-hole in the tiny kitchen of its NuLu home, but I can testify that Chef Bruce Ucán’s oven-roasted rendition is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen done to pork. Continue reading Cochinita pibil at Mayan Cafe takes us straight to Yucatán

Parlour’s pizzas hold up all the way home

I’ve been doing my small part to keep local restaurants alive during the pandemic by giving them my takeout business, but there’s a problem with that: I really hate eating lunch on my lap in the car.

I want to take the food home, dammit! I want to plate it nicely and enjoy it in a relaxed setting. But I can’t keep hot food hot and the cold food cold for very long. I’m still trying to figure this out. The best I’ve come up with so far is either to order dishes that are good at room temperature, or fare that takes well to reheating.

Then it hit me: Pizza! Continue reading Parlour’s pizzas hold up all the way home

Queen of Sheba offers an Ethiopian feast

If you like to eat Ethiopian food the traditional way, you’ll eat with your hands, tearing off pieces of tangy, tan injera flatbread and using it to grab morsels from the common plate while your friends are doing the same.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has put an end to that practice at Queen of Sheba restaurant for now. Dine-in service will be on individual plates only for now, the popular Ethiopian restaurant tells us on its online ordering page. Following standard protocols, customers must wear face masks when away from the table, and everyone is expected to practice social distancing. Continue reading Queen of Sheba offers an Ethiopian feast

Morels smokes serious ‘que … without meat

Following on his success with vegan takes on popular fast-food dishes like the Farby, an Arby’s knockoff made without a molecule of meat, Morels Cafe’s proprietor Stanley Chase has now turned his attention to a seemingly even more impossible task.

Behold, Morels Vegan BBQ Smokehouse, where Chase is creating vegetarian barbecued pulled “pork” and meat-free sausages that one could easily mistake for the real thing. Chase says vegetarian barbecue is a new concept, with similar restaurants in only two other places in the U.S. that he knows of, both very popular on their home ground: Homegrown Smoker in Portland, Oregon, and Monk’s Vegan Smokehouse in Brooklyn. Continue reading Morels smokes serious ‘que … without meat

Tiny Thai Cafe ranks as a favorite

Since the pandemic started, I’ve been focusing on how we can enjoy local eateries and support the restaurant business while still assuring ourselves maximum protection against the pandemic. That approach consistently leads me to places that make it easy to order and pay online and pick up my food via no-touch curbside delivery.

But it crossed my mind the other day that this method rules out a lot of the little storefront shops that often present the world cuisines that I love. Many of them simply don’t have the resources to set up fancy online ordering systems or spare staff to run bags out to your car.

So, craving delicious fare from some storefront Asian spot or gyros house or taqueria or something, I set about finding out how I could do this safely. I ended up at Thai Cafe in Holiday Manor, a longtime favorite, and walked out with an outstanding meal in a bag, feeling completely safe. Continue reading Tiny Thai Cafe ranks as a favorite